stressed out Yes, I realize that my post title is reminiscent of a certain comical rap song, but this is actually a very serious matter. How would you feel if your business website disappeared? Your website is a valuable asset, and you probably don’t want to waste days or weeks rebuilding it.

Last week, I had the unfortunate experience of accidentally erasing my work. I had just installed WordPress and was beginning to format a website for a client. I always make sure that every website I build has a backup system, but I had just gotten started and hadn’t yet installed one. I was simply trying to add an image–nothing dangerous that should have had me worried about backing up the site first. But, before I knew what was happening, the program I was using to access the site crashed! In the process, it took down some important files that the site needs to run, and I had to start all over again. I was left scrambling to catch up in order to keep the client’s project on track. Needless to say, I learned an important lesson.

The moral of this story: it’s never too early to start backing up your site. From now on, I will always install the backup system at the beginning, before I begin working. I use BackupBuddy on all the sites I build, as well as on my own site. It’s a great plugin that allows you to set up automated backups and makes it easy to restore your site if something happens. As an added bonus, it’s also useful for migrating your site to a different domain or server. If you don’t have any kind of backup system, imagining rebuilding your entire website from scratch should inspire you to get one without delay.

BackupBuddy is a premium plugin available for purchase, but there are free plugins that will help you with backup as well. The free plugins only backup parts of your site however, so you’d still have some rebuilding to do. That downtime would result in missed opportunities from potential customers who are unable to visit your site. Personally, I just don’t want to take that risk so the peace of mind is worth every penny. You’re welcome to use whatever backup system works for you, but please use one. Trust me, it was a painful lesson to learn.